I was recently contacted by a senior recruiter on Linkedin. She introduced herself and wrote "I am keen to introduce myself and ask your advice [...]"

This person seem to have a lot of experience and we share a few mutual connections so I thought this could be an interesting conversation even if I am not looking for a position. Hence I agreed to take the call.

She then replied : "Perfect my colleague (a very junior recruiter) will call you at 3pm"

I am not so interested in talking to the standard junior recruiter and feel I should cancel the call. I think this can happen in many situations other than a recruiter and hopefuly this can help people in similar situations.

My question is : How to handle this bait and switch situation ? Can I cancel the call ? Should I explain why to this person.

Also welcome comments on how common this is, and if I am overreacting. Thanks.

  • 6
    Yes, you can cancel. You didn't agree to this. You can also have your people take the call from her people. Your people could be your wife, your dad, your son, your friend, your secretary, etc. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 3:03
  • I find the choice of words from the recruiter rather strange. Perhaps it makes sense in the full context, which is unavailable here, but I have never heard of a recruiter asking a candidate for "advice".
    – Masked Man
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 3:06
  • @MaskedMan, The "advice" part makes sense. LinkedIn penalizes recruiters that spam people too many times (unless they pay LinkedIn). So the initial spam message is tentative to ensure that it does not get flagged by too many recipients. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 3:13
  • General update - I took the call in the end. Junior recruiter was nice. She went through a role description . Asked if I knew any suitable candidates from my previous teams. Told her no. End of discussion. Pretty much what I expected and lasted 3 minutes. If I accepted all those calls I would spend a couple hours a week scheduling and taking them. That's why I try to be selective.
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 4:12

3 Answers 3


How to handle this bait and switch situation ? Can I cancel the call ? Should I explain why to this person.

Of course you can cancel the call. You owe these recruiters nothing.

It would be perfectly reasonable to say something along the lines of "I wasn't expecting to talk with a junior recruiter. Thanks anyway, but I'll pass."

That said, if you are interested in pursuing a position, you might as well have a chat. There is little to lose other than a tiny bit of time.

But if you were only interested in a conversation with the original contact, then just make it clear that this is what you wanted.

You seem to be offended. You shouldn't be. This isn't unusual with these cold-call situations. And as @MisterSortOfPositive indicated, this really isn't a "bait and switch" situation.

You were likely contacted by the original recruiter specifically because of some connection she saw in your LinkedIn profile. Then you were passed on to a different recruiter who doesn't have this connection. In some companies, that's the way it is done.

But you don't have to talk with anyone, if you would prefer not to.

  • 3
    Exactly this. If you are interested in the position, use the recruiter to get the interview.
    – Neo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:08
  • "You seem to be offended. You shouldn't be" - Thanks for insight. Just the first time this happens to me. I'll cancel the call - Thanks again for the quick reply
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:09
  • 1
    @NegativeJo Don't cancel the call unless your not interested in the position. Use the recruiter as a tool.
    – Neo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:10
  • @Mister Sort of Positive : Not looking at all for a job at the moment. But good advice. Thanks
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 12:11
  • 1
    @NegativeJo: A recruiter gets paid by placing people in jobs. The only reason one will contact you is if they are trying to fill a position. In the future, you might want to avoid even talking to one unless you are either actively looking or at least open to pursuing a different opportunity. Otherwise, you are just wasting both your and their time.
    – NotMe
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 13:54

The situation is a little odd. Do you know what they wanted to talk about anyway? This isn't the usual sort of thing. Personally, if they don't want a lot of time I'd take the call regardless, just out of curiosity.

I wouldn't be too upset, more puzzled. I certainly wouldn't dog out the junior person either -- he's not the guy who set this up. Were it me, I'd call the senior person back later and just ask, "Hey what was that all about? I'd understood that you wanted to talk to me, but it really was [junior guy]...? Help me understand this."

If you wanted to be vindictive, you could pass off junior guy to your office's intern... ;D But that would just be silly, so don't.

  • No intention of getting upset at the junior recruiter. Certainly not their fault. I like your suggestion as well. And wont take the vindicative option although I guess it would make a point ;)
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 4:07

I don't understand what the problem is. Why don't you want to talk to a "junior recruiter"?

If you have a real reason why the original person is worth talking to but the second person is not, say, if you know that the original person has specific contacts that are relevant or the authority to do something or some other qualification and the second person doesn't, then say that. "I was hoping to talk to Miss Smith because she has contacts at Foobar Corporation that Mr Jones does not" or whatever.

But to say, "I don't want to talk to Mr Jones because he's a peasant. People of my status do not speak to peasants", well, this just sounds pretentious and egotistical. If I was the recruiter you'd be off my call list immediately.

  • 2
    I can talk to a junior recruiter if they are the one contacting me. In this case it was a slightly deceptive move from this firm by 'selling' me a person with a wealth of experience and then organising a call with someone with less experience. That's the situation that took me aback.
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 15:41
  • 1
    Also, if you don't understand the question, you might ask for clarification. I would happily do edits. I don't think this is an answer but more of a rant. Sorry my question upset you this much.
    – NegativeJo
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 15:49
  • @NegativeJo Sorry my answer upset you so much.
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 21:04

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